Bush Spotlights Iran Diplomacy as Part of Sophisticated Policies

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Byline: James G. Lakely, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

President Bush yesterday pointed to his diplomatic response to Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons as proof of the sophistication of his foreign policy, which Democrats criticize as stubborn and too focused on fighting wars.

Asked about Iran at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Mr. Bush alluded to his designation of the terrorist-supporting Islamic state as part of an "axis of evil," but noted that "every situation requires a different response when it comes to foreign policy."

"We tailor our responses based upon the reality of the moment," Mr. Bush said. "And, first, just make it clear to the world that Iran must abandon her nuclear ambitions. That's part of the role of the United States. And [second] to work with others to send that message."

The president said his administration is working closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency, pointing out that the United States and its allies persuaded Iran to agree to more stringent IAEA inspections.

"Iran must comply with the demands of the free world and that's where we sit right now," Mr. Bush said. "My attitude is that we've got to keep pressure on the government, and help others keep pressure on the government, so there's going to be universal condemnation of illegal weapons activities."

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said Sunday that for 31/2 years the United States thought Tehran was trying to develop nuclear weapons, but that much of the world, including Iran, discounted the notion.

Today, the world is "worried and suspicious" of Iran, Miss Rice said, because the United States has succeeded in revealing the truth.

"The United States was the first to say that Iran was a threat in this way, to try to convince the international community that Iran was trying, under cover of a civilian nuclear program, to actually bring about a nuclear weapons program," Miss Rice said Sunday on CNN's "Late Edition."

"I think we've finally now got the world community to a place, and the [IAEA] to a place, that it is worried and suspicious of the Iranian activities," she said. "Iran is facing for the first time real resistance to trying to take these steps."

Mr. Bush said yesterday that early in his administration he "talked about Iran in vivid terms," an allusion to his often-cited designation of Iraq, Iran and North Korea as an "axis of evil. …